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Govt unveils planning system changes

The planning system must be able to deliver sufficient land in the right places to meet growing demand for homes, the Government said today.
Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper unveiled three new planning policy documents and warned the system needed to be more responsive to demand.

In a commons written statement she said: 'If plans fail to deliver appropriate land for housing, house prices will continue to increase, there will continue to be worsening affordability and key workers will continue to seek in vain for homes near their jobs,'

' The announcement from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is a response to the Barker Housing Review, published in March 2004.

It warned that planning was seen as a key constraint on the delivery of housing.

Ms Cooper said in her statement that the Government agrees with the Barker Review proposition that the planning system must be able to deliver sufficient land, in the right places, to meet need and to be more responsive to demand.

'Equally, if the planning system fails to address low demand, the difficulties faced by communities, in terms of abandonment and crime will increase,' she said.

'The challenge for the planning system is to find the right way to respond flexibly to housing market pressures, in order to achieve social justice, and sustainable development.

'The Government believes that consideration of housing market pressures must be part of the planning system, so that it can operate swiftly and effectively, in the public interest.'

The ODPM consultation paper 'Planning for Housing Provision' proposes a new policy approach to ensuring that appropriate land is allocated in plans to meet the need for housing, respond more effectively to changes in demand, and promote consumer choice.

It also continues the priority given to brownfield development. It provides for different approaches in areas such as the Thames Gateway which are designated for high levels of housing growth compared with other areas where the level of new housing needs to be carefully managed.

It promotes longer term planning as well as much more rapid reviews of plans where demand changes.

The Government will respond to the other recommendations of the Barker Review by the end of the year.

The consultation will be an input to a new Planning Policy

Statement on Planning for Housing in the autumn.

Ministers will consult on a new draft PPS3 which will set out the broad national policy framework for planning for housing.

The Government says the aim will be to ensure that the planning system is used to its maximum effect to ensure that everyone has the opportunity of a decent home, which they can afford, within a community which is sustainable and in which they want to live and work.